Chanh Muối- Quick Salty Limeade

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Before my trip to Vietnam I anxiously checked the weather reports on a daily basis.  I’d chosen to visit during the shoulder season, when the heat and humidity in the Central region is known to be particularly bad.  One website in particular made me extremely anxious.

In addition to the usual weather readings, it also had a “Real Feel” measure.  So while the actual temperature in Hoi An was, say, in the high 80s, the “Real Feel” was something closer to 120+ degrees.  Gulp.

Now we’re no stranger to high temperatures out here in Hawaii, but we’re usually blessed with tradewinds to keep things moderately comfortable.  While I don’t remember much relief coming from ocean breezes in Hoi An, I did get plenty of relief from chanh muối, a salty and sweet limeade made from preserved limes.

I’ve heard chanh muối is common in many Vietnamese restaurants (although I’ve never seen it on any menus in Honolulu).  The traditional way to make it is by preserving limes (or lemons) in salt and then adding sugar and water.  Since I was too impatient to wait months for the limes to be properly preserved, I followed the shortcut recipe from this cookbook.

Now before you write off the idea of salty limeade as being weird or gross, consider this: much of the world already adds a touch of salt to their citrus beverages.  Chanh muối is the perfect combination of salty, sweet and sour… with electrolytes to boot.  Perfect for those hot and humid summer days…

Chanh Muối- Quick Salty Limeade

Yield: 6-8 servings

Ingredients:

* juice of 4 medium limes (approximately 1/2 cup)
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 1 Tablespoon kosher or sea salt
* 6-8 cups water
* lime slices for garnish (optional)

Directions:

Combine the lime juice, sugar, salt and 6 cups water in a large pitcher. Stir to dissolve the sugar and salt. Taste and add more water if you’d like. Serve over ice with a couple slices of lime, if desired.

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